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Monday, January 6, 2014

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr: Meet-the-press round-robin tomorrow

Posted By on Mon, Jan 6, 2014 at 5:23 PM

click to enlarge IN THE BEGINNING: With his wife Kim looking on, Mark Darr was sworn in as lieutenant governor Jan. 11, 2011 by Justice Courtney Goodson.
  • IN THE BEGINNING: With his wife Kim looking on, Mark Darr was sworn in as lieutenant governor Jan. 11, 2011 by Justice Courtney Goodson.

Lt. Gov. Mark Darr is meeting select members of the press tomorrow,

KXNW says Darr, and his wife Kim, have scheduled meetings with reporters tomorrow at the Capitol. Roby Brock of Talk Business said he'd been called by Darr's press aide and offered 15 minutes with the lieutenant governor. Others presumably have received similar invites. Alas, not the Arkansas Blog, and the office hasn't responded to our queries.

I've been thinking Darr was sure to accede to growing pressure within his own party and near-unanimous pressure elsewhere that he resign on account of admitted mishandling of public and campaign expenses. But ... to date he's portrayed himself as a somewhat unfair target over what he's described as largely record keeping mistakes. Serial interviews sound more in keeping with someone hoping to control a defensive message, rather than a means of departure. We'll follow Twitter. I hope Darr stays put. It'll force Republican legislators to declare on the rightness or wrongness of Darr's expense account abuse in an expected Democratic push for impeachment. It will avoid a special election, which I still think isn't necessarily a good thing politically for Democratic candidate John Burkhalter. 

There's be a certain timeliness to a resignation this week. Darr took office on Jan. 11, 2011. Sunday would be three full years. But he needs the job, which pays just under $42,000 a year but carries few duties.

Darr, 40, faces repayment of some $12,000 in public expenses improperly charged to his office. He also must pay $11,000 in fines. And it's not entirely clear if there'll be any additional liabilities for him once he files corrected campaign reports. Among his miscues was taking almost $6,000 in excessive contributions, including $2,000 from John Goodson, husband of Supreme Court Associate Justice Courtney Goodson, who swore him in three years ago, and $2,000 each from Goodson's daughter, Wesley, and his law partner, Matt Keil. That money must be refunded. He's contended since he was raising money to pay back personal loans, the money he spent on personal travel, clothing and other personal things was effectively his to keep anyway.

UPDATE: A Republican close to Darr expects him not to resign and to use select reporters to tell HIS side of the story. That should be interesting in light of his admissions. 

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